My Robot Is Pregnant theme song!

tough guy poetry and manly stories of loneliness
all contents copyright Jon Rolston 2004, 2005, 2006

March 28, 2007


I send these images through the tubes of the internet to GameJew, who is going through a tough time right now. I hope it cheers him up. You can check out his site by clicking on his name. If you go there today, you will see video of an epic Rock Paper Scissors competition in my old neighborhood – Echo Park.

March 27, 2007

My Gear

A lot of readers in the Orient have written asking what kind of camera gear I use whilst shooting my professional eBay photos. I’m not sure the Orient even exists anymore, so it seems a little fishy. If indeed these curiously worded emails (“me love you photo photo” & “we trade piXXX?”) are legit, I’m prepared to let the public in on some behind the scenes industry secrets. I welcome the competition.

Let’s get started. The real workhorse of my operation is a heavy (3 pounds) Cannon PowerShot S330, a member of the digital ELPH series. The S330 was released to a receptive shutterbug audience in March 2002. Five years have past and the thing looks so big and old it’s become theft proof. Sometimes I park down on Market Street to check out the blankets spread across the sidewalk. Chat with the folks selling bootleg porn. Get back to my car and find the window smashed. My car manual’s gone from the glove box and my S330′s still on the passenger seat. I love this camera!


Five years of technological advance has done little for the crack heads smashing windows, but someone is putting a lot of money into making digital cameras better. There’s a gang of improvements since this model’s premiere, including non-proprietary batteries and storage cards, slim pocket size design, and more than the 2 megapixels I’m working with here. Not to mention featherweight! But fuck it. So I won’t zoom in on things or expect to do anything but take a controlled lighting photo from at least a foot and a half away from my stationary object. Some naysayers might call it limiting, I call it inspiring.


The camera is fundamental, of course. But a pro knows photography is more about light than the box you trap it in. Thinking about joining the majors? Step up to a light kit. Let’s take a peek at mine.

I got this clip light at a yard sale for fifty cents. I threw a hundred watt bulb in it, but somewhere in the closet I have a 60 watt bulb too, for a more subdued tone.

Shooting Infinity

The background can be important to a shot, but have you ever considered how important lack of background can be in photography? Product shots, as they’re known in the industry, aren’t supposed to do anything other than present the item. Take a look at my clip light again:


It’s like the light is just floating there in front of you. Nothing in the background to distract you, not even color. No horizon. No pretty model. Just a fifty cent lamp.
How do you create this effect? With a seamless. Professional studios spend big bucks on rolls of this stuff in all kinds of colors, with expensive chrome rigs to unravel it.

I cut my expenses way down when I found a few rolls of wrapping paper in my neighbor’s recycling bin. Just unroll some, tape it to the wall, and roll more out onto the floor. The best part is the white side and the colored side. Take your pick! (Sometimes a little color might help)

seamless.jpgbehind the scenes at a major photo-studio

Reflectors/white cards

You can fill it, bounce it, screen it, whatever you want. Light can be controlled, and here’s how you get it to do what you tell it.

Order a pizza. Make sure your pie comes in a white box, because once it’s been eaten that box is now part of your studio. Save the receipt and write it off as a photo reflector. That means take your clip light and shine it at the white box and Shazam! son, the light reflects onto whatever you point your box at. A gentle light, soft and warm, unlike the direct light of your 100 watt bulb that will make awkward highlights and inappropriate diamond-like rays shoot out of anything slightly shiny.

(photo to come, pizza delivery guy is way late)

There you have it folks, a primer in pro photography. I’ll be here all week ready to answer your questions and steer you around any trouble spots you get into. Thanks for tuning in!

March 25, 2007

Dave is my producer


If’n you click on yonder pitcher you’ll get an earful of hollerin’ and fiddles and such. Sound like Sam got kicked by a mule ’bout half way through’n.

psyche dude, it’s just me and my producer D. Licious from THE DMV puttin’ down some sick electronic music in both MP3 format and WAV file. Unreal stupid shit baby baby.

I’m hoping this will be the theme song to “The Sad Cafe Cooking Hour” pilot my friend Alina shot and edited down in that big tinsel town L.A. Granted, it doesn’t sound like a cooking show theme, but then again, when you see the show, it isn’t much like a cooking show. Alina, what do you think?

Too ’80′s?

p.s. the photo is in D. Licious’ studio. It hangs above the mixer. He says all music is founded in love.

give money to handicapped horses


This gem from 1979 is useful for handicapping thoroughbred horses. I’m not exactly sure what that means, since I only go to the track for the dollar hot dogs. Once there I’m know to hang out by the urinals. That’s where the real money gets made.

Why bet on a handicapped horse? Makes no sense to me. Of course they are all beautiful creatures, but when you’re betting on a horse to win a race, here’s a tip: don’t be picking the one in a wheelchair. Unless it’s a wheelchair race.

Any fucking way, I shot this photo because my Mattel horse race analyzer is going up on ebay. Too many photos on ebay are boring! Check how I threw a stack of cash in the background here. Work at the junk mail factory is clearly rubbing off on me. I had to crop out the fifth of Jim Beam due to size constraints, but do you really even need to see it to know it’s there? Nope.

Here’s the competition’s photo. It’s like a K*Mart flyer vs. an L.L. Bean catalogue.

March 22, 2007


I found a pile of old photo negatives in the garbage this afternoon, here is one from the time of steam engines and steel wheels. The negative is on a piece of acetate that is now peeling. I inverted from negative to positive, and will get a friend to develop the negative for me soon.

March 21, 2007

Flagpoles Up

Here’s a movie Sean made. Nothing says Amish more than helping your neighbor raise his flagpole. Right?

March 20, 2007

Rolston Hauls


I cleaned out a basement Saturday and pulled these out of the trash. Click on the picture to see how they are doing on eBay. Salvage, salvation, being a savior…how much is garbage worth?

Ask God.

Ebay has an answer too:
Your item sold for US $15.50!

the description:

These two mint condition old time racquets are ready for the courts. One is a Wilson Advantage, it is a beautiful wooden racquet, marked 41/2 M on the handle. The Wilson T2000 is sized at 4 3/8 Light. It is probably from the 1970′s, as it is made out of aluminum. A very modern looking machine! Both have their original leather grips and are in really great shape. no scratches, dents or dings. Both are bright and shiny and come with their original zippered head covers. (These are in great shape as well.) The racquets are strung tight and straight as an arrow. It’s like you bought them off the shelf!

These two classics will have you looking sharp on the court whether you want a modern or a traditional look. Sweat bands not included.

You are ready to play with your friend, lover, neighbor or stranger since it is two for the price of one today! Two great racquets for one price!

Thanks for looking and have fun!

I’m hoping to become a copywriter. I want my own cube! Sometimes I get to go to the Cube Farm at the junk mail factory (on the third floor) to move a heavy piece of furniture, and I can’t control my excitement. There are girls up there, and their cubes have little shelves above their desktops with plants and framed photo’s sitting there. They put stickers and magnets on stuff too.

When I was little I would pretend my bed was a raft and I’d figure out what stuff I wanted to bring on my lazy day of floating. I’d go to the kitchen and make a sandwich, and get books ready in case I didn’t have much current and didn’t need to spend much time minding the tiller. There was so much to pack! My bb gun, a megaphone made out of the paper towel tube – that was to sound off in case a paddlewheel full of gamblers was bearing down on me – my stuffed eagle, Eric, who could fly ahead and warn me if any waterfalls were down river, I mean playing raft was an all day adventure. That’s what the cube is. An all day adventure. But I’m stuck pumping up a pallet jack full of misprinted circulars for the local pharmacy. Back to the dumpster…

March 19, 2007


A Murder/Suicide/Love Song

I wrote a murder/suicide/love song. mad-max-shotgun-airsoft-3.jpg
click on the shotgun to listen

I sang “global warning” instead of global warming, like I meant to…but that’s country. Recording it in mono was just stupid.

The full set of lyrics:

Shoot me first, so I can come too
you oughtta know by now
I wanna be with you

global warmin’
terrorist attack
china’s on the rise
not a lotta happy facts

your nose is big
your tits are small
your curled up under the covers
crying in a ball

life’s so crazy
what’s the point
load another shell
and we’ll blow this joint


March 18, 2007

go rub fudgie the whale

I had a lot I wanted to write about tonight, but I spent the day moving a guy from oakland to SF. so here are my notes, to remind myself what I wanted to say. Maybe I’ll fill em out tomorrow.

call your mother from the fruit juice aisle, couldn’t carry on a conversation moren six feet from the kitchen wall ten years ago. how amazing are cell phones? very. How soon do you forget? Very quickly. They bore me now. fire still fascinates me.

uhaul place in an active laundramat. the empty house next door on fire. a woman walking down the street saying, “help me, i locked myself out, i’ll help you.”

I got the bluegrass one, but someone stole the ramp from it

Guy at Uhaul “i can see you workin like a hebrew.” Older black man with a gold tooth.

I wanted to be a cowboy. it don’t pay. no work. so i move furniture now. Use rope. ride. no, not the same. but i’m a maverick. that’s a cowboy word. means a semi wild unbranded cow. Or a horse or a bull or whatever it is men wanted to brand and call their own out west. The word has come to mean more than that. I’m not calling myself a cow. I’m a individual, living by my own rules. Not part of a corporation or a congregation. It means having short hair when every body got it long. a maverick furniture mover. I do it my way. put the couch on last.

can you spare any change for a homeless american citizen? An old white guy wrapped up in an afghan on a chair someone dropped off outside goodwill.

Early in oakland, “how you doing?”

“Been pimpin since pimpin been pimpin”

some get the money motivation, but what can someone do who never had a chance? never been told to do their homework. how much homework would you have done if there wasn’t a fight every night about it? If your mom was high on crack and your dad was in jail, you’d'a been on the streets till past dark.

i made about two hundred bucks today but i don’t feel like sharing it cuz i worked really hard for it. some communities have been shattered. no one wants to say that. they ask, why do they let themselves stay so down and out?

you don’t realize how much you’ve been taught to act by your parents and community. Do you realize how long it took to learn to go to work everyday? How many of you have jobs you hate yet you go to them day after day? Does that make any sense? Not really. but you were taught and shamed and rewarded into doing it. You were taught to think five years ahead, to think about the bills to pay at the end of the month. You were taught that you have a future. These things were taught and you did learn them. You aren’t giving yourself enough credit for what you know.

springtime idiot show

Down on the Peninsula a new crop of assholes are dressing up in spandex drinking water sponsor uniforms and parking their SUV’s alongside the road where the bicyclists all meet up. They pull out a stationary rack and pedal their bikes in place beside their Hummer, a tear drop racing helmet strapped to their noggins, rear wheels spokeless, giant black carbon fiber rims spinning without any forward motion. Finally enough gang members show up and everyone’s legs are primed, so a gaggle of thirty springtime idiots pull out into the road in their matching colors and race up and down this country lane with me behind them in a seven ton ten wheeler with a load of manure up high. One of these days there is going to be a small dent in my bumper and twenty five less cyclists.

That’s why sometimes I’d rather be in the city. It is a happier place. Look no further than our cigarettes for proof…

doublehappiness.jpg doublebackcig.jpg

March 16, 2007

Tractor For Sale


Rus wanted me to let you know he’s finally selling that Massey Harris Pony. It’s a ’52. Shit. He asked me not to mention the year cuz a lotta guys won’t call if it’s not from the ’40′s, but if they see it and get to talkin’ about it…you know how it goes. I messed up and told you, so call it an inside tip from me to you.

Got factory hydraulics and good tires. Runs excellent. Rus said I can tell you that for a computer special, he’ll throw in a cultivator. (The thing you drag behind you that turns over the dirt between the rows of your crops so weeds don’t grow)


Rus Peach 650. 851. 28.54

Don’t call after 6 pm. Thanks.

March 15, 2007

You’ve all probably seen this already, but just in case…it is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time.

March 13, 2007

flag pole after flag pole for our dead


junk mail factory


I’m back working for the junk mail factory. Some of you may be getting a picture of this ice cream scoop delivered to your door. You ought to know that scoop of ice cream is actually a secret recipe involving mostly Crisco, a little glycerin, flour, and corn syrup. “Use both kinds of Crisco, that’s the trick” the chef told me. That means butter flavor and regular.

If you use lard instead of the real thing, it won’t melt. Simple as that.

cameracream.jpg paintcream.jpg

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